Shilla Kingdom Capital

We’re in Gyeongju doing a day on pushbikes checking out the relics from the 1st Century’s Shilla Kingdom. From the massive burial mounds that are the tombs of their gentry, to the bits and bobs in the Museum to the ancient observatory, this town is an important location in Korean history. Indeed as we cycle around we pass a group of archeologists excavating bits of a Shilla palace. The Shilla are to the Korean what the Tang dynasty was to the Chinese – the epitome of art and culture.

We’ve at last come out of the mountains – but it has taken just about the length of South Korea for that to happen. Gyeongju is in a 214 sq km valley. Only by seeing just how extensive the mountains are can one appreciate the shortage of land and why they have to house their 50m people in tall apartment blocks.

Have walked another National Park – Juwangsan – but kept to the valley trails as everyone has sore knees still from the mountaineering indulgence in Odaesan. And we need all our energy to mount the peaks of Tadaesan next week. Koreans seem to be obscenely fit.

Bikes going well, had their first service – no incidents apart from a few bent bolts from grounding them cross country.

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